LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Reported losses from job scams in the first three months of 2023 were up by 250% compared to the same time frame last year, according to the Better Business Bureau.

In the past year, BBB received almost 50 reports of employment scams from people in the Western Michigan service area, to the tune of more than $15,000 reported lost.

Job scams often involve setting up a job interview over email, phone or voice chat, asking serious interview questions and making the job sound legitimate.

The scammer might then ask for the target’s social security number, bank account numbers or other personal information, purportedly for a background check or to set up direct deposit.

In other cases, the scammer might run a slower scam, in which they offer a job later on. The offer might come with an acceptance letter and a good salary on a letterhead that looks official, according to BBB.

Scammers sometimes find resumes on job listing sites like Indeed, then make the scam specific to an individual’s background or interests. Sometimes the scammers impersonate real companies.

The most common type of job scam in Western Michigan is the “reshipping scam,” according to BBB. It involves recruiting a person to be an address to which they send stolen goods or money. The target believes they are part of the logistics team for an international shipping business–and the fake employer disappears before paying the target.

The target, in this case, becomes a “money mule,” and can sometimes be prosecuted for participating in the scam, even if they say they were a victim.

Craigslist, Meta, LinkedIn and Indeed ask users to report scams to the websites, and also to authorities.

BBB offers the following tips for people seeking jobs:

  • Research the company offering the job at Find a number on the business’ website and call to research the validity of the job.
  • Check the email address to see if it’s connected to the company, and not a personal “gmail” or “yahoo” address.
  • Be careful not to provide personal information to unverified recruiters and online applications.
  • Look out for jobs that require you to pay for supplies or other functions. Never cash a check for more than you are owed.
  • Watch out for offers for jobs you didn’t apply for, as well as interviews done online over email, and remote jobs with pay that seems too good to be true.
  • Be skeptical about job offers for “Mystery shopping,” re-shipping, check-casking and car wrapping